Thanksgiving history

Thanksgiving history

Huda Saber, Bottom line writer

Thanksgiving is a significant American holiday and the word evokes memories of football, family reunions, turkey, pie and, of course, giving. This holiday has always been pictured to look like a time to spend with loved ones, feast and experience the beginnings of the long awaited holiday season. Since the beginning of school, people are instilled with the idea that Thanksgiving has come to be because of the union of the Pilgrims and Indians. However, the rich history of Thanksgiving is sometimes forgotten. 


The legend of Thanksgiving has been said to have been based on a feast in the early days of the American colonies almost four hundred years ago. In 1620, a boat filled with more than one hundred people sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to settle in the New World. Their first winter in the New World was tough. They arrived too late to grow many crops and without fresh food, and half the colony died from diseases. The following spring, however, the American Indians taught them how to grow crops in the unfamiliar soil, and they showed them how to hunt and fish. In the autumn of 1621, copious number of crops were harvested. Finally, the colonists had much to be thankful for so they planned a feast in which they invited the local Iroquois tribe. 


Deviating from popular belief, the Pilgrims did not celebrate every year afterward. In fact, the national holiday was suggested almost a century later by Congress when the United States became an independent country. However, some Presidents were not supportive of the holiday, such as Thomas Jefferson, who thought it interfered with the separation of church and state principle. Despite this, Thanksgiving became an official national holiday when Sarah Josepha Hale published the first of many editorials encouraging the celebration of the “Great American Festival” in 1846. According to ThoughtCo, she hoped it would be a unifying holiday that would help avert a civil war. Her idea led to President Lincoln asking all Americans to set the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving. 


Furthermore, according to, Thanksgiving today is the fourth Thursday of November. This was set by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 who changed it from Abraham Lincoln’s designation as the last Thursday in November. This holiday will continue to be a day for Americans to gather in the name of feasting, football and family.